2021 TORCA Survey Results Report
By Theresa McElroy
A record-breaking 401 people responded to the February 2021 TORCA survey! This is more than double the 152 responses received in 2018. We greatly appreciate the time and effort spent to respond to this survey and rest assured we will use the results to help guide our planning and advocacy work in the upcoming years.
How often do you bike in the Tricities?
You are an active bunch! Most said they ride 1-2 days a week (n=175, 43.6%), followed by those who ride 3-5 days a week (n=104, 25.9%). Eight of you are out there 6+days a week!
Recording the ride
Strava is the most commonly used app to record rides (n=237, 59.1%) followed by Trailforks (n=120, 29.9%). Thirty percent (n=121) don’t record their rides. Other apps reported include Garmin and other watch apps. Some of you are using a combo of the above.
Did you know that TORCA has access to Trailforks data for the trails we steward? When you log your rides on Trailforks, it helps us gather data on trail usage. This can be very useful for advocacy with land managers, writing grants, etc. As you might expect we have seen huge increases in trail usage in the last year!
Ok, we forgot to list Burnaby and we apologize!
Riding in the Tri-Cities
In general, you are satisfied with the trail network in the Tri-Cities, although for all areas you have suggestions for how we can improve to make things even better. Thank you for taking the time to share your insights on what we can do for the network.
For the graph below, 1 is not satisfied and 5 is completely satisfied:
While we have read your comments in detail, we could not include them all here. The following section includes a sample of comments and feedback.
Respondents had many comments about development of the trail network on Burke. One of the most common requests, as evidenced in the chart above, was better climbing and connector options.
The gravel road climbs are long, steep and very loose on Burke. These could be made much more enjoyable.
Nothing makes a day on the hill more enjoyable than being able to plan a ride and connect the trails. A good climb trail system allows for us all to take a second lap at the top half of a trail… Detour to another trail and plan when your just not feeling the trail your on..I don’t want to be that person who compares one mountain to another…in saying that ..the no quarter climb trail forever changed fromme.. in years past often a whole side of the mountain would be left out of options because it meant a one up one down day..with no way of connecting or expanding your day…
Climbing trails with the focus on connecting trails, so more varied routes can be used.
I love the trails at Burke – the gravel roads are the tough part (necessary evil I know) but if there was a plan for a climb trail I would support that! For example, the road climb @ Thornhill area vs the Blazing Saddles climb trail! Being able to use Blazing Saddles makes Thornhill worth the drive for my kids. Not complaining! Burke trail work has been amazing!
It’s almost perfect – just few more technical climbs (gravel is boring…) would be great
You noted that the park is getting much busier, which strains the trail network and the infrastructure. There are a range of users with varying abilities and needs, and some felt that Burke’s current trail network could be expanded (some suggested up into the upper park) to accommodate this increase in volume and the range of users. Suggestions focused on: particular types of trail/features (more flow trails, more jumps and berms), trails/features for particular ability levels from easier more accessible/novice to advanced/pro, and more generally on a progressive trail system that can meet the needs of many.
On Burke: given that some of the easiest trails will be gone in a few years when Wesbild clears the land, I would like to see more intermediate trails and improvements to the trails that are higher up within the park. A climb trail is also very much needed!
I think Burke is an incredible mountain, but could thrive even more with some harder trails Lower on the mountain and some easier ones higher on the mountain so you don’t have to start your ride with the hardest trails if you are only doing one big lap…
Find that the majority of the trails are black and even the blue can be quite intimidating to newer riders.
As I get older I really can’t keep up with the young bucks, and a tumble takes a lot longer to recover from. Finding I’m riding a more “aggressive” gravel, and XC trails like Franks with Hustler for the speed. A bad knee limits any big drops, so consider trails for older riders as well as young, aggressive risk takers.
On Burke there should be a good flow trail with jumps drops and berms
There are no pro level trails anywhere. I think every area should have at least one pro level trail for the most advanced who want to test their skills.
As the trails get busier, you noted there is a lot more potential for user conflict and safety issues (navigation, collisions, etc). Here are some of your suggestions for dealing with the issues that can arise with multi-use trails: More education/ awareness of users; more signage to promote safe navigation, dedicated or primary-use trails for hiking, biking, more ride-around options for the tough bits.
More education/awareness of trail users
…We are having to adapt to a larger influx of rec users in parks now, however we can spread awareness to maintain the quality, sustainability, and good manners in our trial networks. Have people care for the trails and forest will be key for good years ahead! Thanks for your hard work and contribution – to get more good people on board (trail days, fundraising if necessary when we can again) would be great as well.
I think we need to be aware of the pending issue of user conflicts and do what we can to mitigate it i.e. trail signage, designated trails for walking vs biking. People hiking up trails meant for high speed descents is an accident waiting to happen.
hiker/biker conflict is getting bad, signage definitely needed. tired of running into lost/confused people everywhere on burke
Some of the obstacles on Burke are unsafe for advanced riders new to the area because there is no signage on what to expect.
There needs to be mtb only trails so hikers don’t get hurt, there also needs to be more trail maintenance, also there needs to be added features on most of the trails also needs to be signs for hikers to watch out for bikers
You also indicated a need for more infrastructure to support the network including parking, trash cans and washroom facilities. One of you also thought a beer stand would be a great addition!
Burke is a great area but needs better parking & facilities (bathrooms etc). It’s a Provincial park & Tri City residents deserve the same amenities as other provincial parks next to Urban areas.
Very challenging to get spots on the weekend (really tests my driving and parking skills as a new driver lol) also filling the potholes would be nice, i know it would be hard to make a [parking] lot.
…Burke is ridiculously busy and with the upcoming expansion of park access, it’s going to get worse. Potentially working with the city and/or BC Parks to figure out how to deal with overcrowding of parking, etc.
3 issues I would love to see addressed at burke: Parking, User conflicts, Illegal dumping. Lots of people seem to just throw garbage on the road. Maybe some enforcement could be done by authorities using game cameras and getting license plates.
Finally, some pointed out the need for more maintenance on some of the trails, particularly with the wet weather and increased users.
Many trails are washed out and not looked after.
Some of the trails just need to be better maintained, updated.
Trail Network Development
Similar to Burke, many of your comments suggest you would like to see more, many more, sanctioned, maintained trails on Eagle (including re-opening some of the pre-existing trails). But beyond that there were a lot of highly varied opinions. Details on what types of trails and features you want ranged widely from more greens and blues to more blacks and double blacks. A number of you also mentioned you would like to see more and/or easier climbing options – BUT, some you love IMBY and want to see Eagle be designated as an intermediate /advanced trail network ;).
Eagle has a solid trail network but is small for the trails that are maintained very well and worked on often. It would be great to see trails like fat bastard, little bastard, four lost souls revived, and dentists, the mistress, massage therapy, or shaloam revived. The network could use more variety
Alternative to IMBY and making physio, shock, psycho therapy easier. The trails are steep and this causes them to require tons of maintenance. Need dedicated climbing trails to higher elevations and more long trails downhill.
The climbing trails on Eagle are quite difficult, specifically IMBY and Shock Therapy. I appreciate that the challenging route exists, but it would be nice to have a chiller way to get up the mountain too. Going up “The Wall” and onto the Powerline Road is a workable option too, but the first bit of “The Wall” isn’t rideable.
Climb trail up to Full Pull please, leave IMBY alone.
Love Eagle. Very much appreciate the buildout of manhandler and mtce of imby and physio. Add’l refresh / update work on the rest of the network will make for an incredible trail system
Again, users would like to see more infrastructure to help manage users, such as having clearer signage on trails, features and maps of the networks. You also noted the increase in hikers and would like to see more signage to help educate users about trail etiquette including leashing dogs, awareness re: direction of bike traffic.
I think the drops and gaps should be identified with signage.
Hikers frequently travel the wrong way and parking is a big problem.
Eagle needs a community board with trail map and a place to advertise trail days and such
You indicated a need for more infrastructure to support the network including parking (number one request!), and washroom facilities
Propers staging area with parking, WC [washrooms] and bike wash area
Eagle should really have some expansion as it is a highly underrated riding location. Parking is difficult and I’m sure that residents near Aspenwood would appreciate a designated parking area for mountain access instead in front of their homes. Signage should be in place near the entrance off the culdesac to IMBY to cut down on the conflict between residents and trail users.
You are most satisfied with Bert Flinn as a riding area as suggested by the 137 “nothing needs improvement”. Some noted this is a great beginner and easier intermediate riding area- we agree! Some suggested further trail development and more trails would be great to see including harder intermediate trails, a climbing trail away from the main footpath and some more connector trails to surrounding areas. Some would like to see more signage that included trails designated as hiking or biking primarily. Some of you noted that some of the trails need maintenance, such as improved drainage on Black Dog.
TORCA is working to expand its stewardship of the trails in Bert Flinn; we have a proposal into the city of Port Moody, who is planning to revisit the trail master plan in 2022. Trails that TORCA currently stewards can generally be identified by the signage at the top of the trails- look for the TORCA logo!
Your responses suggest that most of you (n=320, 78%) have never ridden this mountain before, and most of the comments were along the lines of “where is this?”, “I don’t see Sugar Mountain listed on Trailforks. Is this a euphemism?”. Sugar mountain is real!
Sugar Mountain is in Anmore and contains a small network of trails. The trails often cross boundaries between land managers and are on land governed by BC Hydro, Metro Vancouver Parks, RSTBC and Village of Anmore. There has not been an appetite from these land managers to provide official stewardship to TORCA because of the complexity of the trails crossing so many boundaries, but they are aware of the existence of the trails and understand that they receive regular maintenance from local builders. Some of the trails such as Saddle Ridge, aka Bear Claw, are maintained by BC Hydro. The main trails can be found on Trailforks. TORCA has also discussed with the Village of Anmore, the possibility of building new trails that would fall solely on their land.
A small majority of you are already TORCA members (57%), but some of you were not sure if you were (12%). A further 27% of you were not members, so we asked what we could do to encourage you to join us. Some noted they simply had not gotten around to it yet, some spoke to membership in multiple associations which can get costly, the most common response was the suggestion that TORCA offer more events such as races, group rides and trail days. Rest assured that once we are not in a pandemic, we will do our best to offer more events!
Becoming a member of TORCA is the single best thing you can do to help us advocate for the trails in the Tri-Cities. When applying for grants to help fund maintenance and build projects or when advocating for trails with land managers, we have a larger voice and draw a better response when we have a larger user group that we represent. Just imagine if every rider was counted as a member?!
Also, membership gets you a discount at some local bike shops. Please enquire!
We want to know how we at TORCA can best communicate with you – it seems most of you learn about TORCA through instagram followed by our website.
NOTE: We are looking at ways to update our website to make it more user friendly.
We were also interested to hear about what TORCA events you know about and get involved with… in typical times. Most of you are aware that we run trail building days, an annual AGM, a race series and group rides. However 52% of you have never been to a TORCA event! We will have to change that when the pandemic restrictions ease up and it becomes safe to do so…
Most of you (79%) feel the TORCA membership fees are just right. For the 20% of you who would like to see the fee increased the range suggested was from $25 to $100. We appreciate your input and willingness to support your local trail association!
A number of you suggested you would like more updates on what is going on with the trails, i.e. what is the master plan, what work is on-going, what work is being advocated for or undergoing the approval process. Some want this on the website, some through newsletters, some through social media:
monthly updates with pictures of trail work that has been done etc.
Lots of people don’t use social media and more people are leaving social media so don’t rely on it for communication
Know what our $ is going to. How my money can help… I’ll be donating anyway, if given a reason I’ll probably give more . Eg: “we want to pay a part time trail builder, help us do this “… Maybe you already do
I don’t seem to be able to find a master plan. What is the goal? How are the mountains operated with what funding going to which and why?
More updates on trail builds and maintenance
Some of you would like to see a list of all the trails, with the builders and land managers.
A public list of trail builders/maintainers and land managers for each trail, and the steps required for approval of new features in a fancy flowchart.
Some suggested more information on the approvals process to help people understand what is involved.
More education on how land managers desires/restrictions impact the ongoing work of maintenance and access. It’s a tricky, complex thing, but a little more explanation on an ongoing basis could help with optics and engagement.
I might be case of just not having read but I’d like to understand more about land use agreements
Some of you want to get involved, and want more information on how to go about doing that.
Publish more of how the public/members can help with current issues.
More trail days. Detail how to get involved with building new stuff.
Some noted disrespectful communications on social media and would like to see TORCA mediate some of these discussions (Burke and Eagle groups). TORCA monitors their own accounts on Instagram and Facebook. As a strictly volunteer run organization, our limited resources are needed elsewhere and we do not have the capacity to monitor Facebook Groups for which we are not administrators. Any questions of TORCA can be directed to our social media accounts or [email protected]
82% of survey respondents identified as male, 15% as female and 3% either preferred not to say, or identified as a cyclist or mountain biker. Following best practices of inclusive survey design, we added questions for people to self-identify with specific demographic groups such as racialized, indigenous, persons with disabilities, etc. The information helps us to get a better understanding of the demographic diversity of our community. With that information we can continue to work on creating an inclusive environment that is welcoming to all riders.
A number of people mentioned they would like to see more events such as casual group rides, trail building, races, family focused events to help them feel more included in the community. Offering these events on different nights and targeting different skill levels and diversity of riders e.g. girls rides was also a suggestion we will consider. Some would like to see us reach out to other stakeholders and user groups. Many of you wish that COVID would end so we can get back together :)- we agree!
Again, to our friends in Burnaby we apologize for not listing your location.
Many of your final comments were expressions of gratitude.. TORCA is 100% volunteer run, and so we thank you for taking the time to share the love! We appreciate hearing from you, and appreciate this great community. We look forward to a time not too far from now when we can be together again working on the trails, racing and riding.